ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe p53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR) inhibits glycolysis, resulting in higher intracellular NADPH, lower reactive oxygen species (ROS) and autophagy activity. In this study, we investigated whether TIGAR might exert dual impacts on cancer cell survival based on its ability to inhibit both apoptosis and autophagy. In liver or lung cancer cells treated with the anticancer drug epirubicin, TIGAR levels increased in a dose- and time-dependent manner. TIGAR silencing enhanced epirubicin-induced elevations in ROS levels and apoptosis rates, in a manner that was blocked by ectopic addition of NADPH or N-acetyl cysteine. These findings were correlated with reduced tumorigenicity and increased chemosensitivity in mouse xenograft tumor assays. In parallel, TIGAR silencing also enhanced the epirubicin-induced activation of autophagy, in a manner that was also blocked by ectopic addition of NADPH. Notably, TIGAR silencing also licensed epirubicin-mediated inactivation of the mTOR pathway, suggesting TIGAR also exerted a negative impact on autophagy. However, genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of autophagy increased epirubicin-induced apoptosis in TIGAR-silenced cells. Overall, our results revealed that TIGAR inhibits both apoptosis and autophagy, resulting in a dual impact on tumor cell survival in response to tumor chemotherapy. Cancer Res; 74(18); 5127–38. ©2014 AACR.